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Author Topic: Whacky Idea: Hyperspace and Time  (Read 1145 times)

xenoargh

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Whacky Idea: Hyperspace and Time
« on: August 14, 2018, 09:52:55 AM »

Pretty straightforward idea here, if a little whacky at first.

What if the cost of travelling in Hyperspace was sidereal time in the non-Hyperspace universe?  I.E., there'd be <some multiplier> on time when in Hyperspace; local time is as usual, but subjective time in Systems is passing faster while traveling through Hyperspace.

This would:

1.  Encourage players to invest time finding Wormholes (which I'm still presuming will be a thing at some point).

2.  Encourage players to get the Gates working again.

3.  Allow Alex, from a Game Designer POV, to de-couple "what's happening in Hyperspace" with "what's happening in Systems" in a way that makes sense.  This would help with the performance issues, because explicit manipulation of the traffic in Systems, etc., could be fully abstracted away; the player's fleet and primary POV is not just separated in distance, but in time.  This could really help the game maintain good framerates as things scale up, planets get inhabited, etc., etc.

4.  It'd give a very good excuse for Outpost populations to be able to rise in a reasonable (real-world) time rate; with Hyperspace travel eating months of subjective time in Systems, for example, there's a great in-game excuse for, say, populations to grow, giant space installations to complete building, etc., etc., while keeping the pace of these things reasonably slow if the player just stays in the System.

5.  It'd also give a reasonable explanation of why Pirates can build their own Outposts pretty fast; they aren't, it's just that their locations are <insert weeks / months> of travel-time away.

6.  It'd be a nice nod to Relativity in a semi-realistic sci-fi game.
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xenoargh

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Re: Whacky Idea: Hyperspace and Time
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2018, 10:24:31 AM »

Just to make sure the basic idea's clear:

1.  None of the core mechanics of Fuel, Supplies, etc., usage would change for players, while in Hyperspace.  We're not talking about altering mechanics that are already well-established here.

2.  Time in Systems would move at a different rate, however.  But if the System behaviors are largely abstracted at that point (and Alex's changes to the economy indicate that we should see a much-lower CPU impact in general per time-unit now; this could help excuse it to an even greater degree) then we'd see little to no performance impact.

3.  This would help considerably with the, "can't find X thing I want to buy" problems; time-acceleration would allow for re-rolls of Station cargoes, etc., as players enter a System.

4.  The one big drawback that I can think of is that it'd mean time-sensitive Missions would have to take into account travel-times in Hyperspace.  But!  One of the potentially-Fun parts would be that, by using currently-stable Wormholes or Gates, the player could save time.

5.  This would give a great in-game explanation as to why losing the Gates led to the collapse of the Sector's civilization; everybody got stranded in time.  That exotic Space Widget spare part that you ordered from Domain HQ to fix your Nano-Assembler might even still be coming, via robotic drone, but now it's many centuries,  or even millions of years away in time, because the Gates circumvented the travel times.

6.  It'd also give a (thin) excuse for why the main Gates to the Sector are substantially different than the intra-System short-range Gates; perhaps there's some <insert pseudo-science> reason why a Gate over X distance is fundamentally different than a Gate between Corvus and Sindria, for example. 

Or... maybe a Sector Gate needs a black hole to power it, or something equally crazy, and the Sector's gotta re-invent that tech if it ever wants to find out what happened to the Domain.

7.  If the Gates ever were back online for intra-System travel... it'd sure give a good excuse for the Core Worlds to be so much bigger, well-populated and richer than everybody else; they're able to trade on reasonable time-scales.  Everybody else is stuck with, "ship it and hope there's a market on the other side", which probably only works for a few bulk commodities...
« Last Edit: August 14, 2018, 10:26:43 AM by xenoargh »
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xenoargh

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Re: Whacky Idea: Hyperspace and Time
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2018, 02:11:12 PM »

Oh, and!

1.  This would provide a meaningful mechanic for players to have long-term warning that an enemy fleet's coming their way (unless they use a Gate).

2.  This would provide a meaningful mechanic to explain why the Factions aren't able to conquer each other very easily (too much time delay between sending fleets and defenses are fully-warned).

3.   This would give meaningful structure to sending a fleet places.  If Pirates are already raiding, it's too late; they'll be there for weeks / months before you can get there.  Strategy would involve moving forces where you think you'll need them beforehand.  The strategic level of the game would then play out a little like Risk, which would be interesting.
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Inventor Raccoon

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Re: Whacky Idea: Hyperspace and Time
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2018, 05:41:46 PM »

3.   This would give meaningful structure to sending a fleet places.  If Pirates are already raiding, it's too late; they'll be there for weeks / months before you can get there.  Strategy would involve moving forces where you think you'll need them beforehand.  The strategic level of the game would then play out a little like Risk, which would be interesting.
That presents a problem. So, if I'm, say exploring fringe systems or fighting bounties or whatever and I get an alert that an outpost is being attacked, either I can't show up and defend it (which isn't fun and pretty much relegates attacks to "hey, did you have enough defenses? if not, you suffer. if so, you get a message telling you they won and effectively nothing happened) or I can show up and help in which case the mechanic doesn't make sense.
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TJJ

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Re: Whacky Idea: Hyperspace and Time
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2018, 05:48:59 PM »

3.   This would give meaningful structure to sending a fleet places.  If Pirates are already raiding, it's too late; they'll be there for weeks / months before you can get there.  Strategy would involve moving forces where you think you'll need them beforehand.  The strategic level of the game would then play out a little like Risk, which would be interesting.
That presents a problem. So, if I'm, say exploring fringe systems or fighting bounties or whatever and I get an alert that an outpost is being attacked, either I can't show up and defend it (which isn't fun and pretty much relegates attacks to "hey, did you have enough defenses? if not, you suffer. if so, you get a message telling you they won and effectively nothing happened) or I can show up and help in which case the mechanic doesn't make sense.

Forewarning.
"Hyperspace sensors have detected a fleet approaching our outpost in Y star system. They will arrive in X days."
Giving you the opportunity to intervene yourself, or redirect (or acquire) forces from elsewhere.

I kind of like the idea, though it's a massive change from what we have atm & would likely require a complete redesign of the campaign's fleet spawning & management systems. (As there'd be no need for persistence of fleets within systems).
« Last Edit: August 14, 2018, 05:52:45 PM by TJJ »
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xenoargh

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Re: Whacky Idea: Hyperspace and Time
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2018, 08:10:43 PM »

Quote
Forewarning.
"Hyperspace sensors have detected a fleet approaching our outpost in Y star system. They will arrive in X days."
Giving you the opportunity to intervene yourself, or redirect (or acquire) forces from elsewhere.
Exactly.

Quote
I kind of like the idea, though it's a massive change from what we have atm & would likely require a complete redesign of the campaign's fleet spawning & management systems. (As there'd be no need for persistence of fleets within systems).
This would be a huge performance boon, save a giant amount of memory and make saves relatively tiny.  I know all that, because I implemented something like this near the end of working on Vacuum.  This is a good time for this kind of system to get developed, too; with the new economy, etc., we're going to have a lot more elegant simplicity internally, which is great- so why not go for this, too?  Actually simulating actual fleets is rather pointless, imo, anywhere but where the player is.

If we want more immersion, though, there's an option for that that's pretty interesting.

Instead of simulating battles between fleets the player will literally never interact with, that will largely result in nothing happening of real relevance... let players have the option to participate directly in remote events that involve their faction. 

For example, the Pirates launch a raid on a player's brand-new Outpost Station.  Let the player take control over the defensive forces and fight it out, just like a normal battle.  That'd actually be pretty fun, especially if the player could directly control the Station's weapons.  Might be a whole new level of fun, and the mechanics for doing this are already built (it's already possible to put the player in charge of a fleet in a battle that the player doesn't normally control, etc., by passing the CampaignFleetAPI into the Battle and assigning it to Team 0).

This would be so much more interesting than getting a text message saying whether you won or lost!
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Morbo513

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Re: Whacky Idea: Hyperspace and Time
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2018, 02:05:01 AM »

I'm all for this stuff. I don't think it'd make much real difference to the overall flow of the game either, not negatively anyway. The only concern I can think of is mission/bounty timers would have to be heavily adjusted,
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